06/26/10 — It's time to focus: Being president takes juggling skills and the ability to multi-task.

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It's time to focus: Being president takes juggling skills and the ability to multi-task.

There is more than one reason why the Gulf oil spill could not have come at a worse time.

Think about it -- we are still struggling to get control of the wars in the Middle East, the economy needs more than a little attention, and it is almost election time again.

Not the best of times to be the president.

What worries many people about most politicians, and particularly about members of this administration, is that they cannot seem to handle multi-tasking. If there is too much to focus on, they glaze over and focus on nothing. If they are concentrating on fixing one area, they are losing sight of the bigger picture in another. It is a little like putting someone with a limited attention span in a box and flashing four separate lights that say "look here." The subject tries to look at all four lights and does not commit to any one corner.

Such is the case with those in Washington who are trying to plug the oil spill, control votes on key issues, greet foreign dignitaries, wrangle with Congress and manage the economy.

There has been a bunch of talk, plenty of photo ops and a few decisions, but very little accomplished.

And when you get this kind of policy-making, you get criticism of leadership -- and you get shots out of left field like a survey of business leaders that says they have no confidence in your plan to help the economy out of its slump.

There is a reality that is looming for the Obama administration -- all of it. Being president, vice president and any other member of the Washington inner circle is not an easy job -- and not one that works well with pretty speeches meant to soothe not solve.

Being president is a juggling act -- and a job that calls for being the voice that takes charge, reassures and gets tangible results.

It is about knowing not only how to tackle multiple assignments, but how to get the country to feel confident that it can trust you with the details.

And let's face it, when what you are juggling is an oil spill, an economic crisis and a wholesale change in leadership in one of your key battlegrounds in the war against terror, the last thing you should be doing is appearing anywhere you don't have to be -- or be photographed on the golf course.

The time for showing that the leadership in Washington is proactive and in control is now.

That is the harsh reality that comes with being president or one of the president's men (or women).

Published in Editorials on June 26, 2010 11:15 PM